The young boy from Scotland, Billy Gilmour, has gone about his business in the middle of the pitch for Chelsea with assertive composure and a certain swagger, with which he so rightly has captivated the imagination of Chelsea fans across the globe.
Coming from humble beginnings in Glasgow, Gilmour was brought up through the Rangers academy before Chelsea scouts picked him up at the age of 15. Gilmour came into West London on a train at Cobham in 2017, and many baulked at his transfer fee of half a million pounds.
Yet such was his quality and his potential, which caught the eye of Chelsea scouts.
Fast Start To Life With The Blues
After joining Chelsea’s U18’s and netting goals in his first three appearances (including a goal on his Chelsea U18 team debut), Gilmour utilized all his Scottish industry, and worked hard enough to catch the eye of Blue’s legend and incoming manager Frank Lampard ahead of the 2019/20 season. Impressing in pre-season, Gilmour made his debut for Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup, where he made a brief cameo against Liverpool. He then made his first full 90-minute debut for Chelsea in the FA Cup in a 7-1 thrashing of Grimsby Town.
Fast forward to February 2020 and Gilmour was made a permanent member of Chelsea’s first-team squad. With injuries to N’Golo Kante and a suspension for Jorginho, Gilmour was named in the starting lineup for our crunch FA Cup 5th Round tie against Liverpool, which many expected us to lose.
Whilst many expected Liverpool’s Fabinho to dominate the diminutive Scotsman, Gilmour was there to prove the world wrong. The young Scottish boy from Glasgowit’s bossed the midfield picking out perfect passes, hustling and harrying opponents to win the ball, and put in a stellar, eye-catching performance in Blue.
Chelsea won the midfield battle with critical help from Gilmour. He was instrumental and the best player on the pitch by a mile. The final whistle issued a resounding 2-0 win over Jurgen Klopp’s juggernaut Liverpool side that blasted past the rest of the teams to dominate the Premier League. Gilmour’s filthy stutter-step (seen below) that embarrassed Fabinho was the icing on the cake.
Look one way, go the other 👋
— The Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) March 3, 2020
His performance saw him pick up the Man of the Match award as he announced himself to the world stage. Following his FA Cup heroics, Lampard named Gilmour in the starting lineup in another crucial match against Everton, this his full Premier League debut.
Again, just like he did against Liverpool, Gilmour kept the Chelsea midfield ticking like clockwork as he picked out pass after pass. He was instrumental in the build-up for two goals that helped us steamroll Everton 4-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea’s Starlet Impresses Roy Keane
Speaking about Gilmour in the aftermath of Chelsea’s demolition of Everton, Roy Keane, who is usually a tough character to impress said:
“Brilliant, Brilliant! We mentioned it earlier, the traits you’re looking from a midfielder. Obviously, he’s always looking for the ball, he’s busy, he’s getting his head up, he’s passing the ball forward, his decision-making, he’s intelligent, his pace of the pass.
“There’s [sic] certain traits you want from a midfielder; quality on the ball, football intelligence, composure, he had everything.
“It was one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long, long time. The downside for the kid is he needs to back it up, he’s started so well.
“His general play, the way the game started I thought he was like a world-class player.”
“I thought he was one of their experienced lads, I kept a close eye on his for the rest of the game and everything he done throughout the game had quality written all over it. He’s a small kid but has a big composure about him,” the Irishman added.
How Does Gilmour Compare to Xavi?
Gilmour is so attuned to playing with the ball, having an eye for a killer pass, receiving the ball and spraying the best pass. He’s able to do all this while showing work-rate and industry, and simultaneously maintains elite positional sense with and without the ball. These attributes draw a strikingly similar comparison with Spain and Barcelona legend Xavi.
Xavi too, like Gilmour, burst onto the international scene making his full debut for Barcelona at the age of 18, after coming up through the ranks at Catalunya’s world-class ‘La Masia’. Like Gilmour, Xavi asserted himself onto the first team quickly after his debut.
The Catalan-born midfielder Xavi is another ticker in midfield who was the heartbeat of Barcelona’s side from 1998 when he made his debut, right up until 2015.
Xavi too was short in height but a genius on the ball. He would pick the ball up in tight spaces and spray it around to make the best passes, and he kept the Barcelona midfield running like a well-oiled machine. Not to mention racking up tons of assists, while also showing work-rate and urgency without the ball.
The comparisons are endless but their similarities notably congruent. Xavi went on to win the Champions League, Euros and World Cup, cementing his place in Spanish football history.
Gilmour has only burst upon the scene now, but given the right growth and opportunities, Chelsea could see the young Gilmour emulate Xavi at club level, because such is his attitude, attributes, and potential.
At the moment, Gilmour has only just announced himself onto the English football scene and has shown bags of quality. Ahead of him lies a world of possibilities and a permanent starting spot in Frank Lampard’s midfield as part of the youth revolution at the club.
Ahead of him lies all the glory he has dreamed of and, if he works hard enough, with his attributes he could go all the way to the top.
This is Billy Gilmour, Xavi’s heir apparent.
Edited by: Dan